Sumas Mountain by Bellingham / 靠貝靈厄姆的蘇馬斯山

Sumas Mountain sits just miles south of the Canada-US border by the City of Sumas. It’s a quick jaunt to Puget Sound. Plus, under an hour’s drive east also gives access to many of the North Cascades’ peaks.

Sumas Mountain's summit tower
Sumas Mountain’s summit tower

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Sumas Mountain at a Glance

Access: Paradise Valley Road
Round Trip: 8.6 miles
Elevation Range: 1380′-3430′
Gear: none
Route Info: George Burgess
GPS track: available
Dog-Friendly: yes

Gold Mine Trail

While researching Sumas Mountain, I came upon an intriguing history of the Gold Mine Trail. Author Michael G. Impero even devoted his book to the subject matter. Who knew that the mines could’ve been a hoax?

I went up to the trail with the “no trespassing” sign by the fence. So I decided that it wasn’t worth risking getting into trouble. A quick look at the maps, then I found other access points east of the mountain.

Meet us at the crossroads
Meet us at the crossroads

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Paradise Valley Road

Later I drove another 15 minutes to the top of Paradise Valley Road. But I remembered seeing another road at the lower junction. I thought it would get us closer to the mountain. So we went back down to the fork.

A group of OHVs (Off-Highway Vehicles) had come in after us. A guy I talked to said that the eastern route wasn’t suitable for compact cars. So I drove back up to 1400′ and started the hike there.

One of the several OHVs
One of the several OHVs

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Sumas Mountain Northeast Route

The same group of OHVs passed us minutes later. Later I learned that there are 50 miles of OHV loop trails on the mountain! It was neat to see how they maneuvered over the big dips in the road.

Judging by the noises, they were down by Saar Creek. So in a couple more forks, we hiked up a side trail until it ended at 1900′. Then we scrambled west up to the roadway (P-1070-Spur 2) at 2600′. During which, we saw views out to the east.

Hillside view of Mount Baker
Hillside view of Mount Baker

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The Final Stretch

On the way to Road P-1070, we met a couple and their pup on the open road. Then we walked through more dips to the end and entered the forest. There we continued on a defined path and crossed Lost Lake Trail shortly.

We scrambled through the wetland and came upon an old road (P-1010) at 3100′. The snow showed up soon after. Then we went onto a gravel road and turned north by the radio tower. Soon, we were back in the trees.

The final stretch
The final stretch

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Sumas Mountain Summit

It took us a while to go through the thickets. Ironically, the highest point of Sumas Mountain wasn’t the radio tower. Instead, the real summit was amid the dense trees.

The summit didn’t provide any views. Shortly, we heard bikers riding up on the other side of the woods. It sounded like they were hanging out by a viewpoint. But to keep our social distance, we left the top minutes later.

Other side of the border
Other side of the border

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Outro

I wanted to check out Lost Lake Trail. So we dove back into the trees by the start of the snow. Though, I didn’t anticipate the big section of down trees before the trail. Since we were so close, we zigzagged our way over the debris.

The trail took us down to an unnamed lake. Soon, we joined our route east of the water and hiked back to the roadway. The same people we saw this morning were hanging out by the road’s end. A quick chat, and then we went on our merry way.

Western panoramic view below Sumas Mountain
Western panoramic view below Sumas Mountain

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